National: Cory Bernardi Quits Liberal Party

Senator Cory Bernardi is set to resign from the Liberal Party to form his own “Australian Conservatives” party, despite calls from his colleagues to reconsider.

Bernardi called Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull at 7am Tuesday to confirm his resignation, and is expected to make a formal announcement at 12.30pm Tuesday.

“The point that Cory needs to reflect on is he is in the Parliament by virtue of the endorsement of the South Australian Liberal Party,” the Environment and Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg told Q&A on Monday. “He’s always been treated courteously within the Liberal Party and our party resembles that broad church of views.”

Liberal MP Craig Kelly said Bernadi should “have maybe one last think… You can do a lot more inside the Liberal party, working for, arguing those things that you believe in, than actually outside the tent.”

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton told ABC Radio that Bernardi’s resignation was a “betrayal of Liberal party values… We can most effectively defeat the Labor party at the next election if we’re united and we stick together as a party.”

Bernardi reportedly decided to form his own party after watching the anti-establishment trend in the US and Britain, as well as consulting with former prime minister Tony Abbott.

The Morality Behind Background Checks

Background checks have always been a questionable and ethical procedure. There have been debates on whether or not a person’s criminal record should be an important requirement or a deal breaker for a potential employee. A person’s history can be a difficult quality to overlook but it is important to know your rights when applying for a federal police check.

  • What is a national police check? A national police check outlines an individual’s record of any criminal activity in Australia. Australian citizens and residents will usually need a check as a requirement. According to Seek, “it is a government service provided to either an individual or organisation for employment, voluntary work and occupation-related licensing or registration purposes.”
  • Why do employers need a police check? To reduce the risk of theft, fraud or other criminal activity performed by a potential new employee. With community services and industries where employees are working with children, the elderly or other vulnerable communities, police checks are vital for an organisation to rule out employing people who are past offenders.
  • Know your rights. Nothing happens without your consent regardless of whether you need a check for police investigation or prosecution purposes.
    During the procedure, you will need to confirm and sign a consensual form in order to release your criminal history for employment purposes.Seek says “In addition, if you’re asked in an interview whether you have a criminal record, according to the Human Rights Commission, you are not required to volunteer any information, unless there’s a requirement under legislation to do so. In this case, you would have to disclose your record.”

This article was sourced from: https://www.seek.com.au/career-advice/why-companies-require-police-checks-what-are-your-rights

National: Turnbull Announces Security Briefing Plans for Political Leaders amid Concerns of Cyber Attacks

Defence intelligence officials will be giving security briefings to Australia’s political party leaders next month, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced on Tuesday.

Turnbull said the briefing plan was prompted by concerns following a United States intelligence report claiming that Russia had interfered in the 2016 elections through cyber means.

Last month, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the US Department of Homeland Security said in a report that Russian intelligence agents had allegedly hacked into and leaked the emails of the Democratic National Committee.

“This is the new frontier of warfare — the new frontier of espionage. It’s the new frontier of many threats to Australian families, to governments, to businesses,” Turnbull said.

“We all have a role to play to ensure our cyber security and that includes the custodians of our electoral system and democracy.”

Turnbull’s cyber security adviser, Alastair MacGibbon will be joining officials from the Australian Cyber Security Centre to brief the politicians.

Assistant Minister for Cyber Security Dan Tehan said that while there was no indication that Australia had been targeted, it was important to raise awareness among political leaders in the country.

“We have seen no indication whatsoever that anyone has sought to use cyber influence on our elections or on our electoral system, but obviously our democracy goes to who we are as Australians and we have to do everything we can to protect that,” Tehan told the ABC.

Labor has accused Turnbull of putting his political purposes ahead of national security concerns by announcing the briefing through the media.

“It is a long-standing convention that the activities of our intelligence agencies and specific security vulnerabilities are not made public or discussed publicly in detail,” wrote shadow attorney general Mark Dreyfus in a letter to the prime minister. “This is irresponsible in the extreme – Australians have every right to expect their prime minister would put national security ahead of their own political purposes.”

National: Air Pollution Alert Issued for Sydney as Ozone Levels Rise

An air pollution alert has been issued for Sydney residents as ozone levels continue to rise beyond government standards.

New South Wales Health said the ozone excess, which causes “poor” air quality on Tuesday, could affect people with respiratory conditions.

Ozone is a pungent gas resulting from chemical reactions between atmospheric gases and nitrogen oxides from car-vehicle exhausts, which can cause chest pain, coughing and throat irritation when inhaled. Hot weathers could exacerbate ozone pollution levels, a statement by NSW Health said.

Dr Ben Scalley, Director of Environmental Health Branch at NSW Health said parents are advised to keep watch on their children when ozone levels are high.

“Ozone levels are higher outdoors than indoors, so parents should limit the time their children with asthma play outside as they are more susceptible to the effects of ozone pollution,” said Scalley.

Scalley reminded that people should remain alert to the link between high temperatures and ozone pollution.

 

For more information on local air quality forecast and hourly air quality updates, visit the Office of Environment and Heritage website: http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/aqms/index.htm

 

For more information about air pollution and health, visit the NSW Health website: http://www.health.nsw.gov.au/environment/air/Pages/default.aspx​

Finance: What’s Up With The Australian Housing Market?

According to Louis Christopher of SQM Research, on record the Australian housing market has hit its second most overvalued point, potentially drawing closer towards “a dangerous national housing bubble”.

He has stated that “the national property market was overvalued by 22 per cent, which was only lower than 2003 when it hit 25 per cent” and was driven specifically by Sydney and Melbourne, both capital cities having already entered that bubble.

Christopher has announced that “The current tempo has picked up particularly in Sydney. Melbourne has had about 15 per cent per annum price gains, I know that is a little bit higher at what the official numbers suggest but it is our view that, that is what the market has done. And our expectation is that the current trends will continue well into next year.’’

Melbourne had hit its highest overvaluation level of 40 per cent and Sydney was at its second highest level of overvaluation at 40 per cent as well.

Mr Christopher also warned in his latest report that “if the Reserve Bank of Australia didn’t lift interest rates or encourage the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority to clamp down on home lending, the national market could enter bubble territory.”

Hobart values would increase between 7 per cent and 12 per cent, Brisbane between 3 per cent and 7 per cent, Adelaide between 2 per cent and 4 per cent, and Canberra between 3 per cent and 7 per cent.

Fortunately, the report has predicted values in Perth would drop between 8 per cent and 4 per cent and drop in Darwin between 9 per cent and 5 per cent.

This news article was completely sourced by News.com.au

National: Trump’s Presidency Might Disrupt Australia-US Refugee Resettlement Deal

The election of Donald Trump into US presidency could overturn the Australia-US refugee resettlement deal, experts say.

On Sunday, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced that refugees on Nauru and Manus Island would be relocated to the US through a one-off deal.

Under the deal, refugees who do not accept resettlement to the US would be sent to Nauru and provided a 20-year visa to stay or return to their origin country.

However, concerns arise that Trump might not keep the agreement when he takes office in January.

“In all likelihood, the only way it’s going to happen is if the refugees are transferred to the US before inauguration day [January 20],” Niels Frenzen, immigration clinic director at the University of Southern California school of law told Radio National.

“If the US has not already begun its own vetting or so-called background checks until now, if you look at the time the US has taken to vet Syrian refugees … it’s unlikely that that could be accomplished in a few months.”

Mark Krikorian, the executive director at the Centre for Immigration Studies said Trump, whose policies contradicts the agreement, might not keep the deal.

“We [America] have a good relationship with Australia — one of our closest allies in the world,” Krikorian said.

“If this were a unique situation that there was no way for Australia to deal with, I could see extending them a helping hand, but this is just a matter of shipping these illegal immigrants to the United States.”

Both Krikorian and Frenzen suggest that the resettlement could be finished before January 20 under several conditions.

Frenzen said refugees could be settled before Trump’s inauguration if vetting had been “ongoing” and the US had been negotiating with Australia since January.

Krikorian also suggested that President Barack Obama might accelerate the processing period, as he had previously sped up the assessment of Syrian refugees from 18-24 months to only three months.

“It’s entirely possible the administration will rush the admission of the illegal immigrants you all have offshore in order to get them in under the wire before January 20 when Trump becomes president,” said Krikorian.

National: Turnbull Says Cabinet May Consider Changes to Australia’s Racial Discrimination Act 18C

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has indicated that his cabinet is considering an inquiry into freedom of speech in relation to section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act, a backflip from his August statement that the Government had “much more pressing priorities”.

Section 18C makes it unlawful to “offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate” people based on their race or ethnicity.

Turnbull said the Coalition conservatives’ calls for a parliamentary inquiry into the issue had “considerable merit”.

“There is a view that the bar that is set is too low, in other words, that proscribing conduct which insults and offends is too much a restriction on free speech,” Turnbull told ABC Radio on Monday.

Turnbull also called for the Human Rights Commission to “urgently review” the way it handles section 18C complaints after a Brisbane judge dismissed a case against three Queensland students.

The students were accused of social media vilification of an Indigenous officer on campus.

“What it shows is that the Human Rights Commission must urgently review the way in which it manages these cases,” he said.

“To have a case like that – which will have involved the expenditure of considerable Commonwealth money, taxpayers’ money, considerable money on behalf of the students, imposed enormous stress on them – and have it chucked out, struck out as having no reasonable prospects of success, what the court was saying, what the judge was saying to the Human Rights Commission is, ‘You’ve been wasting the court’s time. You’ve been wasting government money.'”

A number of Coalition politicians have voiced their support for an inquiry.

Liberal senator Cory Bernardi tweeted, “It’s about time, but the real question is why it has taken so long? The abuse of 18C has been evident for years.”

Liberal backbencher Andrew Hastie said while the Government would like to protect minorities, it also sought to defend “one of the most important elements of democracy, which is free speech”.

The opposition has criticised Turnbull’s backflip. “The Prime Minister is willing to trade race hate protections to protect himself from his backbench,” said Opposition Leader Bill Shorten.

National: One Nation Senator Denies Climate Change is Happening

One Nation senator Malcolm Roberts has claimed that the CSIRO’s climate change science had no “empirical proof”.

In his Monday press conference, Roberts released his 42-page report titled “On Climate, CSIRO Lacks Empirical Proof”, in which he wrote that the agency “relies on unscientific Australian and overseas manipulations of data that have fabricated warming temperatures”.

Roberts also published his letter to Dr Larry Marshall of the CSIRO, saying that climate policies is detrimental to “key industries” and people’s job security.

The report also criticised former Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s carbon tax policy and claimed that Great Barrier Reef is not “dying”.

“We have had complete failure of science in policies that has cost Australian taxpayers and citizens and Queensland residents billions of dollars and has cost lives,” said Roberts in the press conference.

Roberts said the CSIRO and weather bureau should face an independent inquiry over the lack of “empirical evidence” that human activity affects climate.

The CSIRO maintained its position in a statement: “CSIRO stands behind its peer-reviewed science on environment, climate and climate change.”

National: Barnaby Joyce Accuses ALP of Communism

Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce has accused the Labor party of “communism” in a speech at the National Farmers’ Federation Congress in Canberra.

Joyce said foreign ownership was a threat to patriotism, and that Labor’s policies, including native vegetation management, would result in “dispossession” and therefore communism.

“I thought about how Labor dispossess people of their private assets with tree-clearing guidelines – ‘vegetation management’ as it’s euphemistically called,” Joyce said.

“This essentially took away ownership from private individuals and gave it to the community. The dispossession of the individual for the community benefit, without the community paying for it.

“While I was marking my 184th lamb that I’d just picked up, I thought, ‘there’s a word for this — it’s called communism’.”

Joyce closed his speech by repeating his statement on opposing foreign ownership of agricultural land. “It’s the whole essence of patriotism, the love of one’s country is best delivered when you own that country,” Joyce said.

“The love of one’s country is best delivered when you own that country. I may like your car but I love mine. Likewise, I find your house very interesting but I want to go home to mine … And believe me, there’s one thing that people are not keen to do and that is die for a rented country.”

When asked whether his speech was too harsh given the presence of Chinese ambassador Cheng Jingye in the congress, Joyce told ABC, “China more than anybody is moving towards a market economy. Ever since (former leader) Deng Xiaoping decided that was the direction they should go, they’ve been exceptionally good at it and private ownership fundamentally underpins your attachment to an asset.

“I love the fact that if my daughters want to, they can go on to the farm that I bought – that’s my aspiration, that’s what makes Australia a great place, and it does build up this idea of patriotism – the love of the earth that you stand on because your indelible connection to it and I’m sure a lot of indigenous Australians would agree with me as well.”

Labor’s Shadow Minister for Agriculture, Joel Fitzgibbon said Joyce’s populist statement on foreign ownership “is a zero sum game”.

“Overcoming those challenges and capitalizing on the opportunities will take new thinking, hard work and co-operation,” Fitzgibbon said.

“And it will require all of us to spend more time talking in positive rather than in negative tones.”

National: Solicitor-General Justin Gleeson Resigns Amid Conflict with George Brandis

Solicitor-General Justin Gleeson has resigned after an open conflict with Attorney-General George Brandis, following the latter’s decision to restrict parliament members’ access to the former’s legal advice.

As Junkee’s Osman Faruqi explained, Brandis’s legally-binding decision in May to restrict access meant that “no minister, including the Prime Minister, could seek legal advice [from Gleeson] without going through Brandis”.

Gleeson said he had been left out of the discussions surrounding public matters such as anti-terror legislation and same-sex marriage. Brandis has been reported seeking advice on same-sex marriage from former Solicitor-General David Bennett after rejecting Gleeson’s advice.

The outgoing chief legal officer also said his resignation does not indicate a backtrack from “any position I have taken in relation to matters of controversy between us”.

“It is not Mr Gleeson who should have resigned today – it is Senator Brandis,” Shadow Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus said. “The Commonwealth has lost from its service a great legal mind and one of the most experienced constitutional lawyers in this country as its most senior legal adviser.”

“It’s imperative that we have somebody of absolute integrity [for the Solicitor-General role], it’s imperative that we have somebody who is not afraid to give advice which will be potentially distasteful to the government of the day,” Law Council of Australia president, Stuart Clark said.

“We had that person in Justin Gleeson.”